Kenneth Cohen

Amalek, Removing Doubt

This coming Shabbat, we read Parshat Zachor. It is a Torah obligation to hear the reading that commands us to remember Amalek.

This reading always falls on the Shabbat before Purim. The connection is that the evil, Haman, was a descendant of Amalek. And the Amalekites were considered the bitter enemy of the Jewish people.

Amalek is synonymous with everything evil. Satan, the Yeitzer Hara, Ayin Hara, and even the Angel of Death, are all connected to Amalek. When we successfully erase the memory of Amalek, we are, in essence, removing evil from the world.

It is interesting to note that the Gematria, or numerical value of עמלק, equals the word, ספק, meaning, “doubt.”

We must not minimize how an individual can be tormented by his doubts. He wonders if he is healthy, or has enough money. His doubts make him concerned about his relationship with those who are dear to him. Being in this state of uncertainty, gives him no peace of mind.

This state of being is brought about by these negative forces. When one is able to remove doubts, and faces the world with optimism, and a clear path of what he must do, he is at peace. He is truly able to be happy with his life.

Perhaps this year when we read Parshat Zachor, we should focus in our prayers that we be able to remove all doubts, which means, removing the Amalek that may be inside of us.

About the Author
Rabbi Cohen has been a Torah instructor at Machon Meir, Jerusalem, for over twenty years while also teaching a Talmud class in the Shtieblach of Old Katamon. Before coming to Israel, he was the founding rabbi of Young Israel of Century City, Los Angeles. He recently published a series of Hebrew language-learning apps, which are available at